Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mince pies are back

We have eaten a mince pie. It was very nice too. No dust to clog the lungs like last time I wrote about them - in 2011. It is that time of year again and I'm not best pleased. The over-consumptive proclivities rampant at this time is counter to my inner-most. Only the mince pies passed through my purchasing [and eating] filter without too much notice. And we do have a small Panettone in the house to keep the Panforte and Stollen company before we or our visitors eat it. We don't like cake really, but this lot just arrived somehow. Got into the shopping basket without us noticing so felt obliged to buy it and bring it home. As it does.

Meanwhile, young Dan Grassmantobe looks at my Zorki4 with it's Jupiter12 lens and is just about to remark "that's not a leica like my Dad's" when I snapped him up for posterior or something like that :-)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

How it feels the moment.

Although yesterday I received a most welcome from a Mr Trellis, or it might have been Andy from, from somewhere down south in Engerland and all that. Apparently Mr Trellis or whatever the fellas name is has been reading this blog. Can you imagine? Must be resting now since he read the whole thing. In one day Eh? What's that all about then? He liked it though and that pleases me. I had a feeling that some one out there will like it, one day. Then they'll wake up, realise what rubbish it all is and get on with their life!

Anyway Mr Trellis - or can I call you Andy? Many thanks for the interest. I'll get back to you :-)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Playing with oil and the like


Heard of that? Me neither till I read about Leonard Misonne.

Well, this is my first attempt. Took the snap I printed before too lightly - see here - and then daubed it with oil paint. Then rubbed it off again a bit. And no, I don't really know what I'm doing.

There may be a hand print on it - sorry and all that. It wasn't mine but i won't blame anyone else as Eve will be unhappy and I'd hate that.

Phone snap of print with glare and curve of paper - just so you can see it's real.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Do you like this?

You may not. Not sure I do to really despite the presence of a wall - albeit a mainland wall. It may be something to do with where you/we were born in time and place, how we/you have lived your/our life/lives and what have you.

I'm trying to recall something that, at the time anyway, had a big influence on my thinking. Now, I have trouble thinking at all. But once, when I was 'reading for a Phd' as they say, I got into Pierre Bourdieu. It all made perfect sense back then as I tried to cajole the theory to fit the facts that I was unravelling. Twas all about dentists if you want to know - demand, supply and the social milieu. At least I seem to remember it was. In Somerset don't you know. The research, not the Uni - that was oop north [or, down sarf from here].

I was going to write about how this informs our tastes - as it does. That Bourdieu fella had it sorted. I think. But now I want to write about it, it all eludes me. Gone right out of my head. The knowledge, it seems has fallen off its perch. The nail must have rusted away so to speak.

If you want to know why  it all made sense once, you'll just have to do the research yourself. But I do recall its worth it.

Be careful about admitting you like Jack Vettriano paintings for example.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Digging for .......

To be quite frank, I have no idea why Toots Wilson was digging a hole just outside his bothy the other day. It wasn't the snow he didn't like - I checked on that. Perhaps it was to keep warm. He certainly had his best gardening jumper on anyway - and lovely it looked too Sir.

Toots was on fine form though and soon we were sat in the warm supping black tea and making plans. Plans that came to fruition today with a sesh in his nice big darkroom making prints and everything. If you are lucky I might even show you one I made. 

If you are lucky and good.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Is this what the mainland is all about?

Yes that's Inverness. Where did you think it was? Tolsta Central?  Some bod going up when his world looks like it's going down. I might be wrong mind. But it looks like that.

And this is where the cruise ships go. Not all of them - obviously - but I have seen some go there - on AIS thingy. No idea why. Perhaps it's the murals.

But this is why I go to Inverness; It's the,... the..., whatever this is and however I did it. And I like it. You might see some more a bit like this. But I may not so come back to see :-)


Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday: Mr Claridge

I had a rush of blood to the brain the other day and lashed out to buy this booklette from the wonderful Cafe Royal Books. I was mesmerised by the images therein - the work really speaks to me. Not that I know much about the chap who did it.

He did this too. Go and have a look at his website to see more of this brilliant work.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's lovely to have the coast nearby

Whenever we go away it's lovely to come back. Even if it's windy and cold. So wonderful to have the coast so close with long sandy beaches to wander along.

Here's one I prepared earlier. [for Coelyne of The Coelynes]

....and here's one from our little sojourn on the mainland. Envious eh? Well, it was just lovely and all that.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

There we were, worrying about the state of the sea...

It was a tad breezy and the forecast had been showing gales. Windy gales that makes the old tub that passes for our ferry bob around a bit. I even noticed a group of girls at the Stornoway Terminal whose parents were taking a bucket on board. Maybe they were thinking ahead. We weren't that keen on the ferry trip to be honest. Eve and I.

Myself and Eve that is.

But the wind abated or blew up our backs or something and the tub crashed and banged just a wee bit. We were OK. The bucket did come out though. Only it wasn't for ill beings but rather to collect monies from the captive audience as the girls did some Highland Dancing in the bar to raise monies for Children in Need. How good was that?

I was armed to the teeth with the best camera money can't buy. It had a proper lens, and other bits. The film was Polypan-f rated at 25asa. I couldn't go wrong.

I didn't

Don't you just wish you had been there?

I shall be taking these to the darkroom :-)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

We've bin away

We were on the mainland. Braved the ravages of the Minch and the Stornoway ferry and spent time showing off our blue rinses with the Saga Louts of Stathpepper. Had a fine old time listening to Ronnie and his tinkling ivories - or whatever it was that was making a racket in the corner of the main hall of the hotel. Missed out on the Bingo though since gambling is not my thing.

I took a snap or two while we were away - but not this one. Just found it again this morning. When we lived in Engerland this was just over the road and the weather at least was like this while we were away.

Little bit of snow here at home now. What's that all about?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

We take a walk on the nice side

I walked under here. How brave am I? To be totally up front with you, and I usually am, walking under there was a doddle. If one can doddle on the Western Isles. It wasn't the Sabbath after all. And the bridge is nice - as bridges go. I've walked and driven across it many the day and thought nothing of it. So going underneath was not too traumatic. Although of course, post under bridge walking syndrome may affect me in later life.

I'd been on the beach near here  with Mr Toots. Walking, snapping, that sort of thing. I had a camera with me and all. One of those SLR things with a lens and everything. And old movie copy film inside [Polypan-f] rated at 200asa - just because I want to. Stuck the film in old re-used ID11 for a while and I do belive it looks ok. To me anyway. I may be suffering from PUBWS though so be careful if you want to try it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

What's your motivation?

I haven't got any today. I'm like that little HHHCB who lays unconcerned on the settee/neg store happily warming up the negs for me with her furry bot. My mtoivation has vanished, drooped of it's metaphorical perch or something. Please don't tell Eve. She doesn't read this but will be onto me like a flash if she hears about it. I'm consoling myself with the lovely works of the late John Tavener.

You may have noticed a preponderance of hats on here recently. I have no idea why this is as I never wear a hat myself - except when it's cold and wet. Which, I suppose is most of the time at this time of year - but apart from that, you'll never see me with a hat - oh yes, apart from on that tv vid and everything. But never ever again!

Mr Toots has no such issues in the head covering department as one can see here. The great man modelling his latest in the window light. Unfortunately the world suddenly moved as I took the snap, I wasn't ready for it - slow speed on the camera front and all that - so we got a bit of blurr. That's OK isn't it? Tell me that's OK.

Friday, November 15, 2013

I think I may have created a rod for my own back.

I think that's the saying I meant. I started a Friday post of other photographisers I rather like and so far my likes have come easily. For example, this one comes easily to mind. But how many more will come to mind I know not. We shall see.

To which, this week's snapper is the great Jean Gaumy. I know that's cheating a bit since he is a Magnum bod [as is D'Agata a little surprisingly - whose work I also like somewhat] but his 'Men at Sea' work is outstanding. With old fishing boats littering up the harbour in Stornoway, some of which actually venture out to sea from time to time, it is both amazing and great to see this work. Rather him than me I must say. The book is just fab BTW.

If you know anymore commercial fishing photography of note - preferably B&W, I'd love to hear about it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I might have something

.....or I might not have something.

I had fun though. Wasted a roll of Chinese film, annoyed a pal of mine and generally had a fine old time. I was trying to 'do' something new but as yet I am rather undecided as to whether that something has revealed itself.

I might have to look at the negs again and see what else I can find. The images are all overlapping for some reason but I think that's adding to the images. I think.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I was seduced

Saw this little little beauty snuggled in its black coat and thought that should be mine. In no time at all I'd parted with the 99p and it was mine. A Pentax Espio 170sl to be accurate. Nothing but the best for me! I'd seen some lovely reportage snaps from this fella-me-lad in the far-east taken with a similarly named P&S camera and it seduced me into thinking "if I had one of those, I'd take pictures like that". I was wrong.

Down[the]town Stornoway.

But then I think I might have the wrong camera. He had an Espio Mini I see - and that makes all the difference - probably. Apart from the different location, film, development technique and skill. Apart from that.

It was only 99p though. It was worth a try wasn't it?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

North Tolsta Photo Festival

Sorry and all that, you missed it.

I nearly did too and I was running it. In the end I got there but it turned out I was only one there which really wasn't surprising since I'd only thought about running it an hour before. I won the top prize you'll be pleased to hear - Lord Wiesmier's Special top snap prize award thing - to give it it's full snappy title. Nice award and a chance to fawn over his Lordship.

I'll give you more notice when the next one is being run. I might keep the theme to myself till the last moment though - just to give myself a fighting chance in the snaps comp.

Coelyne of the Coelynes

This festivals theme was; People who don't usually agree to have their snap taken.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Light over the .... the... car :-(

Now, I think this pooter is beginning to hate me. No sooner than I check the scan of the snap above - nice and moody, light over the yardarm or whatever they say, than it comes out washed out on Blogger. No idea what is going on and why it's doing it to me. I wasn't aware it was doing it before. The flippin scan on the other application is so dark it looks like night!. All too technical for me really. I shall take the slightly out of focus snap into the darkroom and ruin it that way instead.

One thing though, it did manage to select Toots for the sepia treatment properly. He has got his bus pass after all.

Now, some of you might be thinking I've lost me marbles, and you could be right but, the thing is I seem to have found a way to sort the problem - hence the less than washed out upper snap and the non-sepia snap of Toots. Apparently the images are uploaded to Picassa via blogger and that 'auto-ruins' them! If anyone knows how to turn off auto-enhance in Picassa - permanently, the information will be gratefully received.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Just because we live on a wildish island doesn't mean one can't keep up with the latest fashions. We don't mind but that's just us being cuss-id and refusing to spend money on rags and things. We have a a friend who does tread the cutting edge of fashionable satorialism. I mean, don't go thinking we are all like this.

Unless one is a crofter - then you have to comply.

Just back from the opening of the new exhibition at An Lanntair by John Maher and Ian Paterson. Fine fellows both but without a hat between them.
Ian Stephen was there sporting a very arty bonaid of the beret kind jauntily sat upover an ear. Mr Windy had a trendy trilby so beloved of DelBoy types - but looked so very more upmarket than the Trotters ever did. Mr Globe was be-hatted too - his hat's leather formerly situated on a kangaroos bottom so he tells me. I think the kangaroo had a raw deal there to be honest. I too wore a gorgeous green hat I found lurking near the door of our little house as we left this morning. I feel it suited the day very well. And my head was warm.

It was all in a good cause though as the exhibition is just brill - as was the free wine. Some of the large images were printed on vinyl Mr Maher told me. Not sure if was melted down LP's of the Bay City Rollers he was referring to but the prints did look rather nice and there were several people vying for a copy.

The stories that went with some of the images really helped bring them alive. It may not please everyone even if it thrilled me and countless others who were there today but as Grayson Perry reiterated the other day, "you don't have to like everything".

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Snap happy

I have been snapping away at will you know. With a camera that cost me 50p years ago and film that cost me less. Bound to be a fine combination I think. Especially when combined with the incompetence of the film development. And the dodyness of the snap-making in the first place. Although this first snap is brill. I tell you that so you know. I'm sure there may be one of you who may not agree - but what do you know about what I'm feeling anyway. Eh?

Then there's this one - Eve all Templed up in Northton enjoying the delights of the winter air. Or something.
Maybe it was the after effects of eating good food in nice company without the accompaniment of bagpipe CDs. Though there seems to be something hairy on the left there. Must get and have a look inside that camera - looks like there's something growing in there!

Oh, the pooter must think Alec is older than he actually is since it's made him sepia.  I don't think he's over 60 yet. That's the usual cut off point.

That's how lovely it can be on the island - for a few days of year. One can sit out and enjoy the wind-burn with only four layers of clothing.

The flags fly well in the breeze.

Friday, November 08, 2013

You may not know it, but I wanted to be a Misonne

Who wouldn't when you produce work like this.

Or this

Yes that's the work of the wonderful Leonard Misonne. A Belgian by all accounts. Not sure if he rode a bicycle too but he should have. Used the Bromoil and Mediobrome processes which are, as I've found out, very difficult to accomplish. I end up with a pile of smudged paper with no sight of the image that I wanted. Especially no sight of such lovely images with with wonderful use of backlight. And seeing this must have been taken using old un-coated lens' on plate cameras, that is quite something.

I have a book with his images bought in the Photographic Museum in Charleroi - where Mr Misonne was born - that I would not part with. Have a look round the tinternet, there's some lovely work of his on show there.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Out to play with a Toot

Can you imagine? Toots and I out to play over on the west side of the island. In a rain storm, without a jacket on my part either. I came out in a rush and just didn't think. It was sunny at the time.

I took a camera or two mind. As Toots did for a change. And we shot some film - after the coffee and a scone - each.

And the sun shone again. Eventually. I think it was a tad too bright for me and everything.

I found a rock to try and take a portrait of . It didn't move but I still managed to miss the focus!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

And the angels wore ponytails

Peter Falk wore a hat. Bruno Ganz eventually worse one. No doubt in Homage to Toots here wearing his new hat. I took the snap quickly with a slow film and old folder camera. Not much in focus, but I like it.

As I like Wings of Desire which we have just watched again.

Stay on the bus!

I've been thinking a lot of late and not taking too many snaps. The recent talks by Jon Ronson and old Meadsey at The Faclan Festival were excellent, stimulating the brain cells so much they won't slow down and I can't sleep properly. Then there's been the wonderful Reith lectures on Radio4 which by all accounts have been just brilliant. I heard about the Helsinki Bus Station Theory [and here ]today on the the last of Grayson Perry's performances. Fair tickled my fancy that idea. I'm often discussing with Mr Toots about what a nice image is all about - and we seldom agree. The only thing we usually agree with is the wonderfulness of Tunnocks Plain chocolate Tea Cakes. I suppose that's not really that surprising really. Washed down with a small cup of Ethiopian Mountain coffee brewed with love, it's pretty much pure bliss. Nice anyway.

So, just to keep things going, here are two snaps - on film - from the old cycling days from my past.

 Herne Hill


Sunday, November 03, 2013

Time for a Landscape. Of People?

I know, obtuse some people call it but as I write this I'm all excited prior to going to listen to Meadsey witter away tonight at the Faclan festival. Must remember to take a camera in case a protest materialises outside. Or inside even!

Now the winter is coming on the landscapes of the human form commence. With me anyway. Here' three to get me going this year. Mr Holden with a numb lip post-dentist. Mr Windy planning the Hebridean Audax 2014 and dear Eve being. All shot on the old Zorki4 and Jupiter12 on Agfa ASP 400s traffic Surveillance film in ID-11.

Oh yes, I love HCB's portrait book. A fav of mine.

 Mr William Holden

 Mr Windy Windy

Dearest Evelyn

Saturday, November 02, 2013


I found these negs this morning. She who had been grounded had been sleeping on them. Seems to have imparted a nice patina on them as they lay waiting on the settee.

HHHCB had been grounded for fighting. With whom we know not but she came back a little injured - and stroppy - so we kept her in last night to cool off a little - and it seems to have worked. In fact i might just do it again if she places her royal bot on the negs again and does this to them.

From the Oban Cyclosportive - Obviously.

Over Stalked

I thought I was at a Gaelic film. Didn't understand the language, the houses were wrecked, twas raining and there's bog everywhere. Bound to be over the west side of the island I thought. The one thing that threw me was the trees. We don't have many here and there seemed to loads in the film. And then I noticed there was not a Murdo to be seen but Boris and Andrei. Which, seeing the film was Russian, I should not be at all surprised.


The Stalker is a long film although one needs to watch it a few times before you really know what's going on to be honest. I couldn't face watching it again anytime soon since my derriere is still numb from this showing. It's a psychological film thing which basically means it's difficult to know what's happening. But it looked lovely I must say. Full marks to Mr Roddy on including this film in the excellent FACLAN festival. Eh?

The Guardian's take

Friday, November 01, 2013


There's a feast of wonderful imagery here - Arslan Ahmedov. I know little about this photographist other than I love the work. I think the stuff originates on film too - but how the finished images come that way is beyond me. Pure magic I shouldn't wonder.

I know. Sorry about that but you will have to spend hours looking at that blog and, the links that go along with it. I'll just go and make a cup of green tea, meditate a bit, make a few lith prints, sleep a bit and then perhaps you'll come back to me.

What is it with peoples from the east that make their imagery so very compelling? Answers on a postcard please.